HP SAS Expander Wiki

Sleyk

Well-Known Member
Mar 25, 2016
1,040
426
83
Stamford, CT
I have several of these bad boys. Will attempt to flash when I get home. Thanks for the writeup. I even went as far as buying a p410 on eBay just to flash. I had no idea you could flash without one.
 

vvu

New Member
Oct 24, 2016
6
6
3
39
Matt,

I'm afraid I can't really help much. I only had the one card to flash and I didn't have any issues. The only thing I see that is different between your experience and mine is I started with FW 2.06 and used ubuntu 14. You might want to try ubuntu 14, if we can get enough people posting their results we can eventually put together definitive how to on flashing these things without HP Raid card.

EDIT: One more thing to check is I had a single SAS cable plugged into the port labeled backplane. Also there is a note on the other forum where one person flashed their card and it did not increase rev number but started negotiating SATA at 3GB. You might want to try plugging in drive to see what link negotiates at.

I've just been through the above steps, with a HP SAS expander card that had Firmware 1.00 installed, and it has not updated... even after a power cycle.

Rig:
Norco RPC-4224
SuperMicro X8SIL-F
IBM M1015 - Flashed to IT Mode with Avago/LSI 9211-8i firmware 20.00.07.00

Using Ubuntu 16.04.01 Live USB/CD (i386 build).

output of lsscsi command:

Code:
root@ubuntu:~# lssci
[0:0:2:0]   enclosu      HP    HP SAS EXP Card       1.00        -
[1:0:0:0]   disk         ATA   KINGSTON SUV400S      DS6D    /dev/sdc
[5:0:0:0]   disk         ATA   KINGSTON SUV400S      DS6D    /dev/sde
the first sg_write_buffer command takes approx 30-40 seconds to complete, with no errors indicated. the second sg_write_buffer command takes less than a second.

A power cycle, and recheck of the firmware revisionb does not show any change.
(Note: I have tried both CP019687.scexe and CP022989.scexe) both have the same results.

I am open to suggestions ;)
 
Last edited:

Matt N

New Member
Oct 30, 2016
3
0
1
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Melbourne, AUS
Matt,
EDIT: One more thing to check is I had a single SAS cable plugged into the port labeled backplane. Also there is a note on the other forum where one person flashed their card and it did not increase rev number but started negotiating SATA at 3GB. You might want to try plugging in drive to see what link negotiates at.
Drives appear to negotiate at 3.0Gbps, which is good.

However, I wonder whethe same thing is what is causing Windows Server 2012R2 to not be able to toggle the drive lights (Failed to toggle drive light: Not Supported)
drive toggle.PNG
 

ClintE

New Member
Feb 22, 2019
13
1
3
Hello All,

New forum user here; current HP Expander card user also.

I am wondering if anyone has had this type of issue.

I have an Avago / LSI SAS 9201-8i raid card flashed to latest IT-mode firmware and HP Expander card model # HSTNM-B017 firmware version 2.10. When in bios settings of raid card, all 8 drives connected to expander can be seen as online.

When booting into different Linux distros, only 1 or 2 or rarely 3 drives can be seen as online. Boot back to card bios, all drives responding perfectly.

When connected directly to raid card, all drives seen perfectly in OS.

Expander card heat sink is warm but not hot to the touch when running.

Have tried other breakout cables, 8087-to-8087 cables, and even a spare expander card with same results. I have not tried a different host raid adapter, but in the process of acquiring one.

Before purchasing another raid card, is there any particular type that might work better than the 9201? This card seems to work perfectly when not attached to the expander card, with all 8 drives.

Any insight into this issue would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers!
 

sfbayzfs

Active Member
May 6, 2015
247
104
43
SF Bay area
What model(s) of drive are you using? Once a friend was trying to use a bunch of different models and sizes of drive with an hp sas expander with the final firmware, and two older smaller drives just wouldn't show up through the expander, but worked fine difectly attached to the lsi controller (some sas2008 card, I forget which) with no bios on the card, so we didn't see if they were seen at boot. He ended up replacing the drives anyway, so we never found the root cause, but chalked it up to first generation sata drive quirks.

If you only have 8 drives anyway, what is your plan with the expander? (I suspect adding more drives later...)
 

ClintE

New Member
Feb 22, 2019
13
1
3
What model(s) of drive are you using? Once a friend was trying to use a bunch of different models and sizes of drive with an hp sas expander with the final firmware, and two older smaller drives just wouldn't show up through the expander, but worked fine difectly attached to the lsi controller (some sas2008 card, I forget which) with no bios on the card, so we didn't see if they were seen at boot. He ended up replacing the drives anyway, so we never found the root cause, but chalked it up to first generation sata drive quirks.

If you only have 8 drives anyway, what is your plan with the expander? (I suspect adding more drives later...)
You're correct, I have room for a lot more drives in future. I have a variety of drives attached, seagate 2g, wd 4g, 1 hgst 6g, 1 hgst 2g. When drives are attached to expander and system booted to OS, sometimes this or that drive will show, but vary randomly. Reboots generally show different drive(s) almost every time. Tried different OS's also, so doesn't seem to be card driver issue, especially when the card by itself shows all drives in any os.

I don't have a lot of money wrapped up in the 2 expander cards, so that's not a big deal if I can't use them. I can get a 16 port sas card if necessary, and that's the way I'm leaning right now. When the system is finalized, there will be more than 8 drives, so probably will go with something greater than 8 ports.

Would be nice to be able to utilize the expanders, but if not, oh well. Using the expanders would make for a bit more complicated system, and having something simpler would probably be better in long run.

Have a great day!
 

ClintE

New Member
Feb 22, 2019
13
1
3
Well, I think I figured the HP Expander card issue out.

Set device timeout options in LSI SAS9201-8i higher than default, and all drive offline issues went away! Now to start turning each one back down one at a time, to see which one(s) actually affect the disks.

For now, seems to be running quite smoothly, even on multiple reboots. Tried different OS's also, with same good results.

Thanks all!
 

Falloutboy

Member
Oct 23, 2011
207
19
18
Matt,

I'm afraid I can't really help much. I only had the one card to flash and I didn't have any issues. The only thing I see that is different between your experience and mine is I started with FW 2.06 and used ubuntu 14. You might want to try ubuntu 14, if we can get enough people posting their results we can eventually put together definitive how to on flashing these things without HP Raid card.

EDIT: One more thing to check is I had a single SAS cable plugged into the port labeled backplane. Also there is a note on the other forum where one person flashed their card and it did not increase rev number but started negotiating SATA at 3GB. You might want to try plugging in drive to see what link negotiates at.
Hi, Sorry to bring up such an old thread but I do have a query for you, I have not yet installed linux on my server and am still using windblowz at the moment as I am testing drives and the Avago UI comes in handy.

What I was wanting to know is under linux with the 2.10 version firmware do you see all the drives as being on one port or do they report as cable group selections, under windows I have 16 drives connected and they all show as port 0-3 and port 4-7 Slot number 0 on my HP Sas expander FW 2.08 connected to an 9361-8i.

I don't know if the limitation on reporting the drive # as 0 and not reporting the header number is related to the SAS expander FW version or the 9361-8i. I have been told that the LSI firmware is a bit dumb when it comes to this.

Everything is working it just makes it difficult to identify a drive if it bodges out.
 

Stereodude

Active Member
Feb 21, 2016
412
65
28
USA
So what's my best option to flash two of these HP SAS expanders? I bought two on eBay that should have had firmware v2.08 per the picture of the sticker on it in the listing, but they look to have something much older (per the sticker haven't put them in a machine yet). I don't have a HBA or a suitable HP server.

What's a cheap HBA to pickup to flash these (presuming that's the best way)? An IBM M1015 crossflashed to a LSI9211 IT?
 

Dave Corder

Active Member
Dec 21, 2015
117
49
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I just flashed a couple using an old LSI 1608e card I found in a parts box (the older chipset that doesn't support drives > 2.2 TB), after I flashed the card to IT mode. Doesn't need to be one of the newer SAS2008 chips. If you happen to be near Seattle, WA, you could come over with the expanders and a couple beers and we could get them flashed in no time...

Edit: $9 on ebay (you'd also need a SFF-8087 cable): LSI SAS3081E-R 3Gb/s 8-Port Low Profile RAID Storage Controller | eBay
 

Stereodude

Active Member
Feb 21, 2016
412
65
28
USA
I just flashed a couple using an old LSI 1608e card I found in a parts box (the older chipset that doesn't support drives > 2.2 TB), after I flashed the card to IT mode. Doesn't need to be one of the newer SAS2008 chips. If you happen to be near Seattle, WA, you could come over with the expanders and a couple beers and we could get them flashed in no time...
Thanks, but I'm nowhere near there. I'm in MI.

That LSI still need to be crossflashed to a different firmware (IT) to support flashing right? I have SFF-8087 cables.
 

Dave Corder

Active Member
Dec 21, 2015
117
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38
That LSI still need to be crossflashed to a different firmware (IT) to support flashing right? I have SFF-8087 cables.
Yeah. It was pretty easy - basically the same process as cross-flashing a M1015, but with sasflash.exe instead of sas2flsh.exe.

I used a FreeDOS boot USB stick made with Rufus. It did take me a little bit of hunting to find the firmware files and the DOS mode sasflash.exe - PM me and I can get them to you and save you the effort.
 

gerome

New Member
Dec 29, 2018
2
0
1
I just received my my SAS expander today. Came with FW 2.06. I was in the mood for a bit of pain so I decided to try to flash it to 2.10 using on a supermicro board. Besides only having i386 binaries the entire process was painless. I did experience what others have and the firmware revision did not increment right after flashing, but a powercycle solved that problem.

Good Luck!

Rig:
HBA - Dell H310 Flashed with 9211-IT Firmware (P20)
Ubuntu 14.04 i386 Live USB (i386 is important! unless you want to compile your own flashing binaries)

Code:
root@ubuntu:~# lsscsi
[6:0:0:0] enclosu HP HP SAS EXP Card 2.10 -
[7:0:0:0] disk PNY USB 3.0 FD 1100 /dev/sda
Steps:
  • sg_write_buffer --mode=activate_mc /dev/sgX (change X to what you notated earlier)
  • lsscsi -g | grep HP (might still show old FW version, if thats the case time to powercycle!)
Credit:
How to upgrade the firmware of HP SAS expander card without Smart Array controller or Proliant Server?
Just wanted to say thanks for this tipp to the one who found this out originally and all others who spread this. Thank you very much! Great work.

With this I was able to successfully flash a HPE DL38X Gen10 12Gb SAS Expander.

HBA used is an SAS9211-8i and Ubuntu 18.04. lsscsi and sg3-utils were used from the Ubuntu repo.

Extracted the firmware firmware-smartarray-2de15b6882-4.22-1.1.x86_64.rpm as proposed in the HPE instructions with rpm2cpio: "Extract the contents of the rpm using the command: rpm2cpio <rpm_filename>.rpm | cpio -id. This extracts the contents of the rpm to 'usr' folder in the current directory"

This creates the "firmware....bin.fw" file in a subdirectory, which contains the image I wanted to flash.

Than flashed with
  • sg_write_buffer --mode=dmc_offs_defer --bpw=4096 --in=firmwareYYYYYYYY.bin.fw /dev/sgX (change X to what you notated earlier, replace YYYYYYYY with the part of the real filename)
This took a while. Then.
  • sg_write_buffer --mode=activate_mc /dev/sgX (change X to what you notated earlier)
This is really cool, because 4.02 had a very nasty SATA bug.

The original HPE flashtool did not find the expander on a non HP server. Neither with a RAID card nor with an HBA. Even tried in ESXi but it fails there as well. But sg_write_buffer did work in the end.
 

Stereodude

Active Member
Feb 21, 2016
412
65
28
USA
Yeah. It was pretty easy - basically the same process as cross-flashing a M1015, but with sasflash.exe instead of sas2flsh.exe.

I used a FreeDOS boot USB stick made with Rufus. It did take me a little bit of hunting to find the firmware files and the DOS mode sasflash.exe - PM me and I can get them to you and save you the effort.
My adventure was not so fun. A FreeDOS USB stick didn't work since the system I was using has a UEFI BIOS. I had to use the use the UEFI method, which requires a very specific bootx64.efi file or it won't work. Of course pretty much all the links to it in the guides are broken.

tianocore/edk

Digital Cardboard

It also turned out that the SAS expanders had 2.08 on them already despite what was on the sticker. Now they all have 2.10 on them since I went to the trouble of setting up a HBA in IT mode to flash them. The Linux instructions on serverfault are a bit lacking also for using the latest Ubuntu 19.10 (which is only x64) from a USB stick, but I was able to use them as a loose guideline for what to do.
 

Necrotyr

Active Member
Jun 25, 2017
179
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Denmark
Anyone know of an SFF-8643 to SFF-8087 cable that'll negotiate 12G/SAS3?

With my current cables I can't get my HP 12G expander to negotiate higher than 6G with SAS3 SSD's connected to it.

HBA is an Dell HBA330.
 

herrdoktor330

New Member
May 13, 2020
2
0
1
This might seem crazy, but has anyone tried hooking one of these cards to the PCI-E Risers that Cryptominers use to connect video cards to a PCI-E 1x slot?

Since this card doesn't use the PCI-E Slot for I/O and only for power, seems like a waste to plug it directly into a motherboard. You could theoretically mount this card vertically in a case and power it with a PCI-E riser that has a molex power connector. Or if there was a compelling reason to interface directly with the motherboard, could you do it through a PCI-E 1x slot while using a cryptominer PCI-E riser?
 

Dave Corder

Active Member
Dec 21, 2015
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This might seem crazy, but has anyone tried hooking one of these cards to the PCI-E Risers that Cryptominers use to connect video cards to a PCI-E 1x slot?

Since this card doesn't use the PCI-E Slot for I/O and only for power, seems like a waste to plug it directly into a motherboard. You could theoretically mount this card vertically in a case and power it with a PCI-E riser that has a molex power connector. Or if there was a compelling reason to interface directly with the motherboard, could you do it through a PCI-E 1x slot while using a cryptominer PCI-E riser?
Yep, that's exactly what I did with mine.
 
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herrdoktor330

New Member
May 13, 2020
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Yep, that's exactly what I did with mine.
NICE! I thought that would work. So are you utilizing the PCI-E 1x connectivity? Or are you not connecting that and just powering the board with the PCI-E 16x riser? I'm guessing the latter. But I thought I'd ask.
 

Dave Corder

Active Member
Dec 21, 2015
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Not using the 1x piece at all...just the 16x riser. Had them in a couple of DAS boxes and they worked great (until I upgraded to a Dell expander that supported 6gbps for SATA drives)
 
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ClintE

New Member
Feb 22, 2019
13
1
3
This might seem crazy, but has anyone tried hooking one of these cards to the PCI-E Risers that Cryptominers use to connect video cards to a PCI-E 1x slot?

Since this card doesn't use the PCI-E Slot for I/O and only for power, seems like a waste to plug it directly into a motherboard. You could theoretically mount this card vertically in a case and power it with a PCI-E riser that has a molex power connector. Or if there was a compelling reason to interface directly with the motherboard, could you do it through a PCI-E 1x slot while using a cryptominer PCI-E riser?
Had one of these cards connected this way for months, working great. I found one that uses PCIe 6-pin (video card) power connection, as the power supply has lots of these (unused) connectors.

Cheers!